CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A firefighter/medic with the Charleston Fire Department died while on duty early Monday morning.
Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said Jason Cuffee, 27, suffered a medical emergency while working at the fire department’s Station 3 on Oakwood Road at just after midnight. Authorities said they checked on Cuffee after he failed to respond to a call for service.
“A great young man, about 27-years-old, he suffered a medical emergency. It’s a tough day in the City of Charleston,” Goodwin said during her weekly appearance on 580 WCHS Radio’s 580Live show.
“FF/Medic Cuffee started his tenure with the Charleston Fire Department in May 2015. He was an important member of our department and is greatly missed,” Charleston Fire Department Chief Jeffrey Jackson. “Please remember his family, and his extended family at the Charleston Fire Department, during this time.”
Goodwin said Cuffee has been with the department for about five years. He’s a father with young children. Goodwin said the death is being felt throughout the first responder community.
“You live with these guys and gals and you are as close as family because that’s what you are,” Goodwin said. “There are a lot of firefighters hurting right now, a lot of medics who are hurting.”
It’s the first on-duty death of a Charleston firefighter since August 1980.
Goodwin asked the community keep the Cuffee family, the fire department and others impacted in their prayers.
“We’re public servants, we’re not perfect servants and things happen,” Goodwin said. “I could not be more proud of what we do in this city and who we have standing beside us and the work that they do.”
Cuffee was interviewed during a Christmas Day story in 2016 by WCHS-TV about working on Christmas Day. He said he hated to be away from his family but his co-workers were also family.
“Obviously, we would all like to be home with our families, but that’s the job and it’s nice, and it’s like a brotherhood here too, like a second family,” Cuffee said.